To me, healthcare is an ever changing system that supports the health and well-being of individuals through prevention, early diagnosis and effective treatment of diseases, and rehabilitation after the treatment. During COVID-19, all aspects of our healthcare system has been put to the test. Our routine has change and how we do things have changed. COVID-19 has touched every person’s life in one way or another – whether you or someone you know have had COVID-19, how you interact with others, and/or the ramification of the lockdown from COVID-19.
As an urgent care nurse practitioner, I see patients everyday that potentially has COVID. Prior to the pandemic, we were never fitted for a N95 mask at work so my organization was unsuccessful in securing N95 masks for us when COVID-19 became a pandemic. Given our limited personal protective equipment, we fully don our PPE only when a patient reports a potential COVID symptom or when we conduct a specimen for COVID testing. Otherwise, we wear the same surgical mask all day.
We have added telehealth to our services, so now I also see patients on the computer. I feel good knowing that I can still help people but virtual visits are not like in-person visits at all. One of the things that has significantly change during COVID is how we can positively use touch during the patient interaction. When we use touch positively, our brain releases oxytocin. This hormone can increase positive, feel-good sensations of trust, emotional bonding and social connection, while decreasing fear and anxiety responses at the same time – something that is crucial at a time like this. We are not able to offer touch through virtual visits and are limited with touch during the in-person visit due to social distancing. Another thing that we are unable to offer anymore are warm smiles with in-person visits since we are all wearing a mask now.
My home life has completely changed as well. I have two toddlers and a newborn. It was difficult adjusting to my toddlers going to school via zoom meetings while tending to a newborn at the same time. My husband works from home and helps as much as he can. I constantly worry about bring COVID home to my family. I check my temperature every morning. I get tested for COVID anytime I develop any cold-like symptoms. I strip down before I enter my house after work and run to take a shower before I can touch my kids. I miss seeing my friends in person and hugging people. I miss social events at work. I miss sharing a meal with other people at the same table.
I accept all the risks that are associated with showing up to work because I love what I do and the people I work with. I know they will keep everybody safe like they have been doing with each other. I know we will get through this one together. I see a light at the end of the tunnel with the COVID vaccines rolling out. I hope we can all continue to wear our mask, maintain social distancing of 6ft, and have patience.
Learning as a student during a pandemicCovid-19 has effected me in many ways just like everyone else. But I am currently going to school to become a respiratory therapist. I have been learning online since March, and still going to clinical’s since June. Clinic means that I am learning and working along side other respiratory therapists and that I’m volunteering my time. I have seen a lot of things like shortage of PPE (person protection equipment), nurses stressed about what’s coming next, teamwork, and learning at a fast pace.
I was fitted for an N95 right away and told that I was aloud to go into covid patients rooms. I seen patients on nasal cannula’s, heated high flows, and intubated. I have also assisted with intubating covid patients. I have been exposed to patients multiple times before we knew they had covid, and was not wearing an N95. I have been in the ER when patients come in unconscious to also be put on a ventilator. This has been an ongoing issue since I have been at clinic.
Please understand that these healthcare workers are putting their life on the line for you. Yes we want to be health care workers, and we love helping people but we just ask that you protect yourself and wear a mask!
I will be graduating in may 2021 to work along side these healthcare hero’s. I hope I’m half of the respiratory therapist of some of therapist that I have worked with over the past year.
Working in the medical field has it’s challenges already, but now COVID-19 has changed the way medical professions live their everyday lives.
I have been a Nurse Technician at the University of Michigan for 3 years, and now recently transferred to to St. Lukes hospital in Toledo OH. Working in a COVID ICU has changed my life forever.
During this fight there are just so many “unknowns”. How do we protect our patients? How do we protect ourselves? And how do we protect our loved ones? It became very clear, very quickly COVID-19 was out for killing. The hospital quickly filled with patients who we had no idea how to save. That feeling of defeat is so unbearable. Not only were we faced with COVID-19 patients, but our regular patients. I had a very young mom with terminal brain cancer who died alone because COVID-19, and the visitor policy shut down. This past week I also assisted with a young 33 year old who needed an emergent bed side intubation, who will now never come off a ventilator again. I have never felt this feeling of hopelessness before.
COVID-19 has also caused personal struggles for me. From working 60 hours a week, to my mental health, to my physical health. “Exhaustion” has become underrated. Being under tremendous amounts of stress caused me to have my own heart problems. I was diagnosed with SVT this past July. I needed to have a cardiac ablation right away, and will be looking at having another one this upcoming January.
Being surrounded by COVID-19 patients everyday, I eventually had COVID myself. I was fortunate enough that my body fought off the virus on it’s own. But the long term effects for me and my health conditions are still unknown.
Fighting a virus like this is already hard enough, but fighting ignorance in the public is just as hard. Working your butt off in a COVID ICU, and then going to the store where people refuse to wear a mask, is just as exhausting. Hospitals and ICUs are full, we medical professionals are BEGGING for the public’s cooperation.
This is my personal experience from COVID. However, I speak from the family of my fellow nurses. We can beat this virus, and the world will one day heal again.❤️